Steve Wynn Sues Casino Hairdresser for WSJ Accusations
Steve Wynn is suing Jorgen Neilsen, a former Wynn Las Vegas hairdresser who accused the former casino executives of sexual harassment. Jorgen Nielsen was one of two people who went on record for a Jan. 26 Wall Street Journal expose article which led to Steve Wynn’s resignation at the company he founded.
The Wall Street Journal claimed to have interviewed 150 current and former Wynn Resorts employees for the article. Those people were cited in the report, but they did so anonymously. Over a dozen were salon workers who claimed they were harassed by their ultimate boss, Steve Wynn, who was CEO of Wynn Resorts at the time.
Nielsen put his name to specific allegations, saying in the WSJ article that “everyone” in the Wynn Las Vegas salon “was petrified” of Steve Wynn. Jorgen Nielsen also said that he and other Wynn employees told other executive staff members about the harassment, but their pleas were ignored. He said, “Nobody was there to help us.”
Wall Street Journal Accusations
The Wall Street Journal article was the tipping point for many accusations against Steve Wynn. Like similar incidents in the “Me Too” era, other accusers were emboldened to tell their stories of alleged sexual harassment by Steve Wynn.
Newspapers throughout the United States and United Kingdom published the accusations, causing significant public relations damage to Steve Wynn and his casino company. With regulators launching investigations and shareholders losing money, Steve Wynn resigned as CEO in early March. He cashed out $2.1 billion in Wynn Resorts holdings and now has no connection to the casino company he founded in 2002.
With no casino corporation to head, Steve Wynn appears to be focusing on reclaiming his reputation. The Jorgen Neilsen lawsuit is the third defamation suit he has filed this month, including one lawsuit against the Associated Press and another case filed against a Las Vegas law firm.
“Unlawful Pursose of Smearing Mr. Wynn”
The defamation suit claims, “In falsely accusing Mr. Wynn of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era, Defendant Nielsen acted with the unlawful purpose of smearing Mr. Wynn and creating workplace issues for Mr. Wynn at a time when he was embroiled in highly contentious and public litigation with his ex- wife, Elaine Wynn.”
The suit claims that Jorgen Neilsen is Elaine Wynn’s personal stylist and has been her hairdresser for years. The claim is an attempt to tie Jorgen Neilsen to Steve Wynn’s former wife, who has been locked in a bitter divorce settlement with Steve Wynn since the two split in 2011. The contention is that Elaine Wynn ultimately was behind the Wall Street Journal article which led to the famous Las Vegas Strip casino mogul’s business and casino downfall.
Claims Steve Wynn Is Legally Blind
The lawsuit claims one particular scene described by Jorgen Neilsen was a lie, because Steve Wynn could not have perpetrated the act. At one point in the WSJ article, Jorgen Nielsen told a story of Steve Wynn chasing a salon manager around the office until she locked herself in a closet to escape her boss’s wrath.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal said the legal brief in the case suggests that Steve Wynn is legally blind and “has problems finding someone’s hand to shake” — which would make it impossible for Steve Wynn to focus on the salon manager, much less menace her physically.
Fallout from WSJ Article
In the wake of the Wall Street Journal article, several others came forward with allegations. The Las Vegas Review-Journal published a 20-year old allegation against Steve Wynn. An editor for the Review-Journal claims she wrote an expose of the casino mogul’s alleged harassment in 1998, but the editorial staff killed the story and told her to destroy all copies of her article.
Instead, Carri Geer Thevenot kept a copy, which was published by the newspaper in the wake of the WSJ article. The original article was published on February 5 by Nevada’s biggest newspaper. Additionally, Carri Geer Thevenot told her version of events, which included attempts to squelch the story by Wynn Resorts.
Lawsuit Versus Associated Press
Other news accounts are more impeachable. For instance, the AP lawsuit filed by Steve Wynn alleges that an Associated Press article about charges filed by a woman involving rape allegations left out key parts of the police report.
One included improbable charges that Steve Wynn married the woman secretly in 1973 when the two had a child together.While Steve Wynn paid $7.5 million to a woman that is alleged to be a paternity case, the Associated Press article that accused Steve Wynn of misconduct in 1973 are much less believable.
His accuser also claimed that his biological daughter, who was born in 1967, was kidnapped as a newborn in 1973 and raised by Steve and Elaine Wynn. Given the impossibility that such an act could have happened, Steve Wynn’s lawyers contend that the AP’s decision to leave out those charges represents a malicious smear on his reputation.